Mapping of the presumptive brain regions in the neural plate of Xenopus laevis

Authors

  • Gerald W. Eagleson,

    1. Department of Biology, Loras College, Dubuque, Iowa 52004-0178
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  • William A. Harris

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Biology and Center for Molecular Genetics, University of California at San Diego, La Jolla, California 92093
    • Department of Biology and Center for Molecular Genetics, University of California at San Diego, La Jolla, California 92093
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Abstract

Two cell autonomous fluorescent labels (DiI and Hoechst) were used as vital markers in a fate map study of the Xenopus neural plate and ridge. Most areas of the brain derive from the neural plate in a fate map that is consistent with the topology of a sheet rolling into a tube, i.e., neighboring areas are maintained as neighbors. This has enabled us not only to plot the fates of larval brain structures, but also to suggest their primordial orientation in the neural plate. Since overlapping areas of the plate gave rise to overlapping regions of the central nervous system (CNS), we have been able to construct a space-filling model of the neural plate, whereby the number of founder cells for each brain region fate-mapped may be estimated roughly. Much of the telencephalon, ventral forebrain, and dorsal brain stem derives from the neural ridge and not the neural plate in the stage 15 Xenopus embryo. The strctures of the forebrain were examined in detail because there were indications of substantial cell movements in this region. The anterior pituitary arises from the mid-anterior ridge, while hypothalamic structures arise from the midline regions of the anterior neural plate. Consistent groups of ventral hypothalamic structures were labeled when fluorescent markers were applied to these parts of the neural plate, indicating stereotyped cell movements. Detailed comparisons were made between the fate map of the Ambystoma neural plate (Jacobson, 1959) and that of Xenopus.

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